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How much is car insurance for 21-year-olds?

On average, a car insurance policy for a 21-year-old driver will cost $1,584 — about $850 more than the national average. Although a 21-year-old is no longer a teen driver, they’re still considered a risky client to an insurance company. Historical data shows younger drivers are more likely to get into car accidents and receive citations — all of which puts an insurance company at more financial risk and thus they’ll charge more in premium.

Still, there are ways to save as a 21-year-old driver - such as by gathering quotes from multiple carriers. Let’s break down some cheap car insurance providers and other ways to save.


Cheap car insurance for 21-year-olds

Using a methodology outlined here, we discovered that USAA is the cheapest car insurance company for 21-year-old drivers. At $966 for a standard six-month policy, USAA will set you back $161 per month.

Insurance companySix-month premium
Allstate$1,925
Farmers$1,563
GEICO$1,503
Liberty Mutual$2,541
Nationwide$1,560
Progressive$1,498
State Farm$1,319
USAA$966

 

If you’re not in the military or related to someone who is, State Farm offers the second cheapest premium at $1,319. This policy will cost you $59 more per month than USAA. Bear in mind, this data should only be considered as a jumping-off point. Your insurance costs can be lower if you’re still on your parent’s policy or if you bundle with renters insurance


Why do 21-year-olds pay so much for car insurance?

Although 21-year-olds are paying more than the national average, there’s a considerable drop in car insurance premiums from 20-year-olds. On average, 21-year-olds pay $451 less than do 20-year-olds per six-month policy.

Insurance companySix-month premium
20$2,035
21$1,584
22$1,493
23$1,378
24$1,311
25$1,139

Your gender and your premium

Until you get to be 25 or so, gender is still a considerable rating factor for car insurance, especially for young drivers. At age 21, men pay over $400 more per year than women in car insurance costs. Auto insurance companies see young male drivers as statistically riskier than young female drivers and charge accordingly to account for the higher risk. As you age, women actually pay about 1% more for car insurance than men.

Learn more about male vs. female car insurance rates.

 

Average Premiums by Gender
AgeMaleFemaleDifference
20$4,395$3,748$647
21$3,381$2,958$423
22$3,106$2,750$356

 

Currently, HawaiiMassachusettsMontana, and California are the only states which do not consider gender as a rating factor. Furthermore, effective January 1st, 2019, California, Washington DC, and Oregon require non-binary gender options.


How does your education impact your insurance?

While the difference is quite small, car insurance companies see drivers with more education as less likely to get into accidents or file claims. On average, drivers who have a PhD paid $20 less per six-month policy than drivers without higher education.

Currently, California, Massachusetts, Georgia, and Hawaii do not use your education level in calculating your car insurance quote.

EducationSix-month premium
None$752
High School$743
Bachelors$735
Masters$732
PhD$732

How does your credit score affect your premium?

Having poor credit, which tends to happen with lots of student loans, will cause your car insurance rate to increase. Data from the Federal Trade Commission shows that drivers with poor levels of credit are not only more likely to file a claim, but their claims tend to be more expensive in value than drivers with higher credit. To an insurance company, this data signals the need for higher premiums in order to protect themselves.

Learn more about car insurance with good credit and bad credit.

Credit TierSix-month premium
Very Poor (300-579)$1,494
Fair (580-669)$1,013
Good (670-739)$940
Very Good (740-799)$809
Exceptional (800-850)$750

 

Currently, California, Hawaii, and Massachusetts do not use your credit score to determine your premium.


What about your location?

Because insurance is state-regulated, any time you move your insurance premium is almost guaranteed to change. Certain zip codes will be rated higher for what an insurance company might see as an additional risk for living there. So, if you live in a state with higher insurance regulations, such as in Michigan, you can expect your premium to be higher.

Annual Premium for the Most Expensive States for 21-Year-Olds
StatePremium
Michigan$5,189
Kentucky$5,138
Louisiana$5,103
Rhode Island$4,861
New York$4,304

And your car?

Although turning 21 does allow you to be considered a more "mature" driver, you’re still considered risky. So, if you insure a vehicle with a high MSRP (i.e., more expensive to replace if you total it) or a vehicle that is capable of high performance or off-road driving, you can expect your premium to be high. If you’re looking to save money, you should consider picking a pre-owned moderate sedan or van.

 

Average Annual Premium Based on Vehicle-Type in 2018
SedanHybridLuxury CarSUVTruckVan
$2,116$2,016$1,953$1,802$1,621$1,657

How to save money on car insurance as a 21-year-old

After covering the rating factors and explaining why it is expensive to have car insurance as a 21-year old, let’s address the best ways to save money without having to cut back on your insurance coverage.

 

Keep a clean driving record

Although you can get a DUI at any age, now that you can legally drink, you should be exceedingly wary of getting a DUI. On average, a DUI will raise your car insurance rate more than $1,000 per year — which doesn’t even begin to cover the myriad of other penalties you will have to pay for. Furthermore, your insurance company will continue to charge you with higher rates for any violations for a total of three years — sometimes longer. In California, you can be charged for up to 10 years for a DUI.

 

Accident/ViolationPremium Increase
None 
Speeding 11 - 15 MPH Over Limit$308
Speeding 16 - 20 MPH Over Limit$342
Speeding 21 - 25 MPH Over Limit$381
At-Fault Accident$617
Reckless Driving$1,034
Racing$1,084
DUI$1,086

 

Good student discount

If you’re in college, as many 21-year-olds are, you should consider the good student discount. The age requirements can vary, but most insurance companies still offer this discount to students in your age group. Insurers consider students with above a 3.0 GPA — or "B" average — as more responsible and generally safer drivers. As such, your insurance rewards your good grades with a lower premium. They will usually require proof of your grades every policy period. Combined with a defensive driver discount, you can save an average of $189!

 

Defensive driver discount

The logic for this is pretty straightforward. If you’ve taken a professional driving course to become better at defensive driving, you’re more likely to be a safe driver — which is good news to your insurance company. Usually, you can take courses provided by your local DMV but consult your insurance company beforehand to make sure they will honor the discount.

 

Average Annual Savings for Good Student and Good Driver Discounts

Age

Male

Female

19

$278

$160

20

$238

$139

21

$202

$117

 

 

Bundle multiple policies

Your renters insurance covers your property and liability in the event something is damaged or you’re found responsible for certain types of damages. Some apartments and landlords actually require you to have renters insurance, which is a good idea anyway — it's useful and very affordable at around $150 per year. So make sure to bundle both your auto and renters policies from the same insurer in order to get a multi-policy discount.

Learn more about discounts for bundling renters and car insurance.

 

ANNUAL SAVINGS VIA MULTI-POLICY DISCOUNTS

Renter

Renter with Multi-Policy

$1,470

$1,393

Summary: car insurance for 21-year-olds

Turning 21-years-old is notorious for usually one thing and it’s not something usually encouraged by your insurance company. Still, turning 21 has other advantages besides being able to order a beer. You can expect around $900 in average annual savings as you begin to appear less risky to your insurance company as a young adult. But make sure you keep a clean driving record, have good driving habits, and especially avoid drinking and driving if you want to keep this lower premium. In addition to this, make sure you shop around for car insurance every six months in order to find the best possible rate.

Whenever you age, move, or — in general — change anything above your driving profile as discussed above, make sure you check to see you’re getting the best rate. 

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Ava Lynch
Ava LynchSenior Analyst

Ava worked in the insurance industry as an agent for four-plus years. Currently providing insights and analysis as one of The Zebra’s property and casualty insurance experts, Ava has been featured in publications such as U.S. News & World Report, GasBuddy and Yahoo! Finance.

About The Zebra

The Zebra is not an insurance company. We publish data-backed, expert-reviewed resources to help consumers make more informed insurance decisions.

  • The Zebra’s insurance content is written and reviewed for accuracy by licensed insurance agents.

  • The Zebra’s insurance content is not subject to review or alteration by insurance companies or partners.

  • The Zebra’s editorial team operates independently of the company’s partnerships and commercialization interests, publishing unbiased information for consumer benefit.

  • The auto insurance rates published on The Zebra’s pages are based on a comprehensive analysis of car insurance pricing data, evaluating more than 83 million insurance rates from across the United States.